Hedo Turkoglu gave Magic fans a glowing demonstration of why the team made him a key figure in its massive reorganization two weeks ago.
Turkoglu, part of two trades involving eight players that Orlando engineered to reload its roster, had 10 points, 10 assists and 14 rebounds in the Magic’s 110-90 rout over Golden State on Monday night.
”I’m glad I finally did something to help this team win,” said Turkoglu, who has been steady in nearly every game since his return to the Magic. ”When I have the ball in my hands, I’m able to do the things I’m good at. My strength is to be the guy who is a facilitator, get my shot or find one for my teammates.”
It was the third triple-double of his career and helped the Magic run their winning streak to six games. Dwight Howard scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.
Jason Richardson, who came to Orlando from Phoenix with Turkoglu and Earl Clark, said the Magic are taking better advantage of Turkoglu’s ball-handling skills than the Suns did. Much of that was evident in the second half when Orlando outscored Golden State 66-37 to erase a nine-point halftime deficit. Turkoglu for seven assists in the final two periods.
”It’s great to see Hedo come back alive and play the kind of basketball he’s capable of playing,” Richardson said. ”It was a different situation in Phoenix. Steve (Nash) was so great with the ball out there and we couldn’t really figure a way to play them together out there.
”But (Turkoglu) is like having another point guard here. He knows the system and he’s really taking advantage of it,” Richardson said.
Howard played a key role in opening up the floor for Turkoglu and his teammates. Orlando made 15 3-pointers, 12 in the second half when the Warriors couldn’t decide whether to smother Howard inside or stay with Orlando’s shooters out on the perimeter. Turns out, they did neither.
”When you’ve got to deal with Dwight Howard, it’s going to force your team to help in ways you don’t really want to help,” Golden State Coach Keith Smart said. ”Unfortunately, we don’t have anyone who can guard him one-on-one.”
The Warriors had things going their way in the first half when they outrebouned Orlando 25-17 and slipped away to a 53-44 halftime advantage. Dorell Wright had 12 of his 17 points, but neither Wright nor his teammates could keep up with the Magic after the break.
”Maybe we can just play a half and go home,” said Smart, whose team blew a 14-point halftime lead in Miami two nights earlier. ”We played very, very good basketball against two elite teams and for whatever reason, didn’t come out in the second half and play at the level necessary to win.”
Monta Ellis led Golden State with 20 points. The Warriors played without starting center David Lee, who bruised his back in a loss at Miami and is day to day.
The Magic, who were just 3 of 11 on 3-pointers in the first half, hit a flurry of 3s in the third quarter and early in the fourth to easily erase the nine-point halftime deficit. Orlando was 12 of 21 on 3-pointers in the second half.
Richardson started the second half with a 3-pointer and Jameer Nelson followed with two more 3s, the second one giving Orlando a 64-62 lead with 5:21 left in the third period. Gilbert Arenas nailed the final 3-pointer of the period just before the buzzer, pushing the Magic lead to 79-71.
Ryan Anderson drained two more 3s early in the fourth quarter, the second one giving Orlando an 89-75 lead with 9:33 left in the game. Golden State never got closer than 10 the rest of the game.
Anderson and J.J. Redick each had 13 points, Nelson and Arenas had 11 apiece and Brandon Bass added 10 points.
NOTES: Redick is 44 for 80 from behind the 3-point line in his last 20 games. Wright is averaging 22.4 points and shooting 48 percent (25 of 52) from behind the 3-point line in his last seven games.